The Illuminati are appearing in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Who are they?
Remember, just because the core material tries to show a heroic side of the Illuminati, the multiverse will present a great many possibilities, one of which can easily be imagined as a villainous take on the group.
Just a few days removed from Marvel's newest installment, Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness, Comic Book 101 returns to give the details on what was of the biggest reveals to date in the MCU: The Illuminati. When the first trailer for the second installment of the Doctor Strange franchise, fans caught a glimpse of what was believed then to be the superhero super group, the Illuminati. This speculation was later confirmed in the 10-day trailer for the film when the group is mentioned by name. So, who exactly is the group and where could this rendition of the group differ?
Much like Nick Fury informing Captain America and others in the first Avengers that "there was an idea..." when speaking about uniting the titular heroes, Tony Stark founded a super group that was to heroes as the Traveling Wilburys were to music. Founded on the heels of the Kree-Skrull War, Tony brought together Reed Richards, Black Bolt, Namor, Dr. Strange, and Professor X. Each of them representing distinct groups that came about their powers in different ways. The idea being that they were all equal in being heroes, and each was a leader over their specific circumstances, i.e Professor X over the X-Men and Black Bolt over the Inhumans.
The group has had their central differences and issues resulting in break up's and reunions for big events such as Marvel's Civil War, perhaps the greatest event the group is known for is the World War Hulk series. Tony Stark had convinced the others that Hulk was just too dangerous. He was getting more and more powerful, and hard to contain. Tony's solution: send the behemoth to space. The events of Thor: Ragnarok were loosely based on this premise, sans the Illuminati.
In the comic version of events, Hulk did in fact land on Sakaar and was key in defeating The Red King. It was during the conflict he took a fighter named Calera as his wife, and who subsequently becomes pregnant. During the freedom celebration on Sakaar, the planet's residents are forging the Hulk's ship into a statue when it explodes and kills Calera and Hulk's unborn son. This kicks off World War Hulk directly from the Planet Hulk storyline and send Hulk to Earth to confront the Illuminati.
Related: Doctor Strange 2: What Will the MCU Look Like After the Illuminati?
While the new Doctor Strange film is a mere days away, much like knowledge of the multiverse for our current heroes, as stated by Strange himself, what is known about this iteration of the Illuminati is frighteningly little. Patrick Stewart returning as Professor X has long since been confirmed. A Thanos head-wielding Iron Man Variant played by Tom Cruise, Superior Iron Man, has been rumored to be joining the mix as well. Will this be as heroes or villains? Recently photos have surfaced of Wanda leaving Illuminati headquarters covered in blood. Is it hers or does she take out some or all of the famous group?
A few pieces of information can be pieced together from what we do know about this iteration of the group. Since Iron Man in Earth 616 sacrificed himself to stave off Thanos, this version has to be part of the multiverse which is also hinted at in the title. Other variations are expected to appear including Captain Carter who fans have seen in the What If...? series. Teyonah Paris is rumored to make an appearance in the film as well, potentially as part of the hero...or villain...super group. Remember, just because the core material tries to show a heroic side of the Illuminati, the multiverse will present a great many possibilities, one of which can easily be imagined as a villainous take on the group.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hits theaters May 6th and tickets are on sale now.
Gary has an extensive informational background in sports radio from WXVWZ 1450AM in Jeffersonville and 790AM Iheart Radio, Louisville. He has also written sports stories before transitioning to writing entertainment with MovieWeb.